Playing Holi seems like a lot of fun, until you have to deal with the cleaning up after. The task of getting rid of the harsh colours or treating rashes and other infections, scares many people off the festival. “Most commercial colours are made up of heavy metals, chemicals, powdered glass and pesticides, which have adverse effects on the skin,” says Mohan Thomas, senior cosmetic surgeon, Breach Candy Hospital. Anup Dhir, chief cosmetic surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, adds, “Most of the chemicals are not processed, so they can lead to skin problems, rashes and allergies. They can make your hair brittle and dry too.”
Indian devotees display coloured powder during Holi at a temple in Kuala Lumpur. AFP Photo/Mohd Rasfan
Beat the post Holi woes with these expert tips.
Use cold water: Avoid hot water when you’re washing off the colours. “Hot water will make the colours stick, making them even more difficult to remove,” says Dr Thomas. Also, avoid washing dry colours off your skin with water. “Washing dry colours will only spread them further. Instead, try and remove as much as possible using a cloth or your dry hands. Then, have a bath with cold water,” advises Madhuri Agarwal, dermatologist.
Don’t scrub: Do not rub the skin vigorously with soap to wash off colours, since soap, being an alkaline agent, will make your skin itch. “Use a cleanser containing aloe vera and lemon. Lemon will act as a mild bleaching agent and help in reducing colour spots and aloe vera will moisturise your skin,” says Agarwal. Dr Thomas provides a home remedy: “Apply coconut oil via a cotton ball over the coloured areas and then wash.” This helps get rid of oil paint as well. Dr Dhir suggests soaking some amchur powder (made from raw mangoes) in water and using the mixture to remove the colour.
Use lemon: “To lighten the colour, rub lemon wedges on your skin and then apply a mixture of wheat flour and coconut oil,” says dermatologist Bindu Sthalekar. “If your teeth are stained, the colour can be removed by scrubbing them with lemon rinds or applying a paste of lemon juice and fine salt, and then washing it off.”
Cosmetologist Rashmi Shetty provides another home remedy using lemon and curd. “A mixture of lemon and curd contains acids which help wash the colour off easily. However, it’s not suitable for sensitive skin, as the mixture may cause irritation and inflammation,” she says.
Oil up: Oil can revive your hair and prevent hair loss post Holi. Dr Thomas advises massaging your hair with olive or almond oil. “Olive oil is a fantastic conditioner for hair. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that promote scalp health and prevent dandruff. Almond oil, on the other hand, is a natural treatment for dry and damaged hair. It provides deep nourishment and moisture for dry locks, adds shine to dull hair, makes hair stronger and even controls hair loss.”
However, to get rid of the colour from your hair, Shetty suggests using coconut oil. “It contains alpha linolenic acid, which emulsifies colour very well, making it come off easily.”
Rescue your hair: Dr Thomas provides a few home remedies for dry and damaged hair. “Make a hair pack by grinding a few fenugreek seeds with four tablespoons of curd. Apply this pack on your scalp and wash your hair with shampoo after 30 minutes,” says Thomas. “Curd is a rich source of calcium and carbohydrates, which help in healthy hair growth.” He adds, “For strong hair, mix one tablespoon of vinegar and three tablespoons of hair oil and apply it to your hair. Vinegar makes the hair silky and lustrous and also helps smoothen hair.”
Avoid cosmetic services: “Avoid cosmetic services such as peels, skin polishing or salon treatments like facials, bleach or hair colour for at least a week after playing with colours. The chemicals will damage your scalp further,” says Agarwal. Dr Dhir adds, “Do not use kerosene, petrol or spirits to remove stains as this will harm your skin.”
Befor the plunge
Apply sunscreen and moisturiser at least 20 minutes before playing Holi.
Apply olive, coconut, almond or mustard oil on your face and body.
Wear clothes that cover your entire body so that your skin doesn’t come in contact with the colours.
Apply a thick coat of lip balm to protect your lips from damage.
Protect your nails by using a transparent nail polish.
The night before Holi, massage your hair from scalp to tip with coconut, olive or castor oil to shield it from harmful chemicals, dust and dirt.
Do not leave your hair loose. Tie it up.
- Inputs from Aakriti Kochar, beauty and make-up expert, Oriflame, and Blossom Kochhar, chairperson, Blossom Kochhar Beauty Products